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"Civil Rights" homeless student kept from taking Regents exam

Meredith Kolodner of the Daily News has been following the story of Rosa Bracero, a newly homeless senior in high school, who was unable to take the state-mandated English Regents exam in January because her presence was required at a homeless intake center for a seven hour meeting. She took the exam at her high school the following day but the state education department refused to score the exam. The English Regents was the only missing piece for Rosa who hoped to graduate in January and attend the Lincoln Technical Institute during the second semester.

After an uproar by advocates for the homeless and others, the New York City Department of Homeless Services announced they had changed the policy. "The Department of Homeless Services is revamping our policy so that once a family presents at the intake center, a student may be excused from the shelter application process for important exams that do not offer make-up sessions, like Regents or some college preparatory exams, while their family continues to be processed. The incident of a student missing the Regents Exam was unfortunate and unusual, but these steps will ensure that no child faces a similar situation again."

Of course this decision comes too late for Rosa. The state is standing by its decision not to grade the exam, even as State Education Commissioner David Steiner met with the family and vowed that this would never happen again. Steiner was ridiculed on Keith Olbermann's MSNBC show Tuesday night as the "worst person."

According to the News, Steiner said it would "cost too much to create makeup exams for every Regents exam - about $4.5 million a year - but he said the Regents were reviewing the scoring procedures."

Meanwhile, Rosa can retake the exam in June, and,she has been assured by Steiner-- and Lincoln Technical - that she can start classes next week, despite not having graduated from high school.

The high school that Rosa attends? The High School for Civil Rights!

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